Patrick McDermott is a cameraman who went missing on a fishing trip after years of dating singing legend Olivia Newton-John.
A private investigator later alleged that McDermott was alive and living in Mexico, having faked his own death, according to Investigation Discovery Channel. However, according to The New York Post, the claim was never verified.
Newton-John went on to marry second husband John Easterling. They were still married when she died on August 8, 2022, after a decades-long battle with breast cancer.
The McDermott disappearance was one of Newton-Johnson’s most difficult moments. In 2021, NBC News reported that McDermott’s case was still classified as a missing person.
Here’s what you need to know:
McDermott Disappeared From a Fishing Boat in 2005
According to Investigation Discovery Channel, McDermott was “found alive in Mexico” 12 years after he disappeared in 2005. However, this claim was never definitively proven.
The site reports that McDermott had been dating Newton-John for nine years when “he disappeared after an overnight fishing trip off the coast of California on June 30, 2005.”
He was declared dead three years later. There were 22 passengers on the boat, but none of them saw him go overboard, according to IDC.
The site reports that some investigators believed McDermott was fleeing “financial woes,” including back child support.
Grunge.com reported that McDermott also “left behind an ex-wife and two children,” and his ex-wife, Yvette, became close with Newton-John because they “bonded by their grief and confusion over the whole thing.”
According to NBC News, McDermott “signed the manifest and boarded the freedom with 22 other fishermen for the 10 p.m. departure.” It was supposed to be a “22-hour voyage” of “relaxation and deep-sea fishing.” He wasn’t reported missing for 10 days, NBC News reported.
Authorities found a fanny pack with McDermott’s driver’s license, wallet and car keys. His car was still there. But no McDermott.
“Was he pushed, did he fall, or did he try to kill himself? You’ve got three possibilities may have happened,” Dateline’s Keith Morrison asked. Or did he disappear on his own? Some believe that he simply got off the boat and walked away in the chaos of other passengers getting offing too, NBC reported.
A Private Investigator Claimed McDermott Was Living on a Boat in Acapulco
According to The New York Post, in 2010, a private investigator claimed he found McDermott “living on a boat off the coast of Acapulco” and that McDermott “just wanted to be alone.”
“That claim was never substantiated,” the Post reported.
“He was lost at sea, and nobody really knows what happened,” Newton-John told Australia’s “60 Minutes” in 2016, according to The Post.
“It’s human to wonder. But you know, those are the things in life you have to accept and let go. Because whenever you go through difficult times, there’s always those concerns.”
The New York Daily News reported that a private investigator named Phil Klein claimed he had been “in contact with a man in Mexico who represents McDermott.”
The Daily News reported that Klein was trying to get a DNA sample to prove the claim.
That story claimed McDermott was living in Puerto Vallarta under the name Pat Kim.
Dateline also went looking for McDermott in Mexico. “Dateline decided to travel to Baja and find out. And, sure enough, we also found people who claim they’ve been around Patrick McDermott,” NBC reported.
Eduardo Mejia, the son of a cafe owner in El Pescadero, told NBC he had met McDermott in Mexico and claims McDermott asked if he could buy his silence. “He is not interested in talking with anyone. He is not interested in giving a trace or a sign that he is doing well or not. I can tell you he is doing well,” NBC reported.
A Claim That McDermott Was Spotted in a Photograph in Mexico Proved False
One claim, that McDermott was seen in a photograph in Mexico, turned out to be another man.
The claim, reported in an Australian tabloid, reported that McDermott “was spotted alive with a mystery woman in Mexico” and offered up a photograph to prove it, CBC reported.
But a Canadian man named Wes Stobbe later came forward and said it was him.
“But apparently somebody took a photo of my wife Bridget and I when we were in Sayulita,” Stobbe told CBC.
An investigator named Charlie Parker claimed “it was highly likely” the photo showed McDermott, CBC reported, but the picture was Stobbe.
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